Our Curriculum

The National Literacy Trust defines literacy as follows: ‘We believe literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen well. A literate person is able to communicate effectively with others and to understand written information.’

At St Michael’s we believe that talking and listening are fundamental to a child’s learning. Children are encouraged and helped, right from the very start, to talk clearly and confidently and with expression in order to communicate their ideas and feelings. Similarly, and just as importantly, they often need to be taught how to listen to others and respond appropriately. We provide children with opportunities to develop their skills in speaking and listening in all areas of the curriculum. Our enquiry approach to many subjects supports this drive as do the relationships we seek to build as children move through the School. In short, we aim to encourage questioning and curiosity.

We want all children to be able to enjoy reading and be able to read for purpose. We teach reading skills formally through phonics, (Letters and Sounds is our core text) but also through storytelling, using picture books, and spending time exploring the written word in all kinds of contexts and every subject area. Reading weeks keep reading at the heart of our school and encourage family members to engage in reading fun with their children. All children take books home each evening to practise, reinforce the skills taught in school and enjoy, and guidance is provided on how parents can best support their children’s learning in this area.

We want all children to be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and to communicate with others effectively through the written word. Writing always has a purpose and children are encouraged to feel pride in their first steps, only later seeing how ‘secretarial’ skills can help them communicate more effectively.

Mathematics is essential to everyday life. Through teaching and learning in this area we aim to ensure that all children become confident and fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practise with increasingly complex problems over time.

Our teaching programme is based on the Primary National Curriculum 2014 and sets out what children learn on a year-by-year basis in the areas of number (place value, addition & subtraction, multiplication & division, fractions), measurement , geometry (properties of shape, position and direction, statistics (tables and graphs)

Science stimulates and excites children’ curiosity about events and things in the world around them. It also satisfies this curiosity with knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling.

Teaching and learning in science reflects our belief that children have a natural sense of awe and wonder in the world around them. We aim to provide the children with a science knowledge base, and encourage them to ask questions, make predictions and then to test these in order to discover more about the world around them. We hope also to foster responsible attitudes towards the environment and all living things.

Computing and e-learning makes a massive contribution to all aspects of School life, for children, staff, governors, parents and the wider community.

We believe that all children should be given opportunities to engage in a broad computing curriculum that ensures they are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

At St Michael’s we value each child as an individual and through Forest School we aim to provide a nurturing space where children have the opportunity to develop resilience, confidence, independence, motivation, co-operation, social skills and communication in a safe environment.  We believe that a close connection with nature can support all children’s wellbeing and offer opportunities for all children to achieve, whatever their needs and starting points.  We want children to understand and be passionate about the role we can all play as caretakers of our world, developing their understanding of our local habitat and how to look after and nurture it.  

Forest School is taught throughout the school, from Nursery through to Year 6 and led by qualified Forest School leaders.  To enable children to follow their interests and develop skills we value working in smaller groups with a higher adult to child ratio.  To facilitate this we have planned out Forest School across the year as follows:

  • Each class is split into 2 groups (group A and group B here).
  • Each class has a weekly FS timetable slot.
  • During a Forest School block, the group shown below will have FS sessions.  The other half of the class will cover another curriculum area with the class teacher in the classroom.
  • Our Forest School leader, class TA and volunteers will work with the FS group.
  • We block the sessions together for a half term at a time to support families in ensuring they have the correct clothing needed for the sessions.
Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Group A has a 6 week FS block.Group B has a 6 week FS block.Group A has a 5 week FS block.Group B has a 5 week FS block.Group A has a 5 week FS block.Group B has a 5 week FS block.

To ensure our sessions are of high quality and run effectively we have training sessions for all staff and helpers involved in Forest School.  These sessions are held during the first week of the Autumn Term and whenever we have new staff or helpers join the school.  These sessions are planned and delivered by the Forest School leaders.

Whilst we ensure our Forest School sessions are full of opportunities for child led learning we also appreciate the importance Forest School plays in PSHE and other areas of the curriculum.  To ensure we can effectively support children in their PSHE development we have linked our Forest School and PSHE curriculum.  When planning for Forest School, the leaders work together to think about the needs and interests of the learners in each group as well as the classroom curriculum to create a medium term set of learning opportunities.  These opportunities will be enhanced throughout the block through observations made by staff and helpers.

Children need to ensure they have the following items for Forest School:

  • Wellington boots all year around
  • Waterproof trousers and jacket all year round
  • In warmer weather: sun hat and sunscreen
  • In colder weather: a warm coat; warm hat, warm socks and gloves
  • A spare pair of socks

Helpers Leaflet

Forest School Newsletter – Summer 2

We measure the impact of Forest School in several ways including using Leuven scales to monitor children’s wellbeing and involvement, pupil voice, observations and photographs of children working in Forest School.

Across the school the impact of Forest School will be seen by children’s understanding of their wellbeing, being able to talk about and use strategies they can use if they are feeling anxious or stressed in other situations.

In addition, case studies have shown that regular Forest School Sessions can support children to:

  • Develop self-regulation skills
  • Build resilience
  • Gain a sense of achievement
  • Increase motivation and concentration
  • Improve problem solving
  • Expand their vocabulary and communication skills
  • Feel empowered and have new perspectives
  • Build positive relationships with adults and peers
  • Have overall improved wellbeing and mental health

Through the study of geography, children are given opportunities to develop an awareness of their immediate surroundings, other places and how people have used their environment. Children are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of places and environments throughout the world; develop an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative and problem-solving skills both inside and outside the classroom. As children study geography they encounter different societies and cultures. This helps them realise how peoples rely on each other. It can inspire them to think about their own place in the world, their values and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment. Environmental work is an important aspect of the geography curriculum and is further enhanced by our active Eco-School Committee.

History fires children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Children consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. As they do this, children develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. In history, children find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. To do this they are encouraged to research, sift through evidence, and engage in active discussion – skills that will prepare them for adult life.

Design & Technology helps to prepare children to participate in tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies. Children are helped to develop the skills that enable them to think creatively and imaginatively to design, make and evaluate products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts.

Music is an important part of our curriculum. It is taught as a class subject, where children sing, compose and work creatively with sound, and where through active listening, children’ awareness, understanding and appreciation develops. But it is also wrapped up in daily life, for example, rhythm is used to develop awareness of pattern and rhyme, recorded music is used to stimulate dance and drama, hymns and songs are sung in Collective Worship, and there are even special ‘line up’ and ‘wash your hands’ songs for the younger children.

Music is also a key element in all the Christian festivals we celebrate in school and in the Church, as well as in Maypole dancing, an annual highlight.

Art, Craft & Design is a natural form of expression and can be a source of great pleasure. We encourage children to develop their creative and imaginative talents through learning skills and techniques and using a variety of materials and tools. Children have opportunities to work with professional artists and crafts people. They learn to appreciate works of art and use artistic language to describe paintings, sculptures and other artefacts.

As a Church of England School, we see it as our duty to give children and members of the school community the skills to maximise their engagement with the world around them, enable them to grow spiritually, emotionally, and personally, and develop the character and values which will serve them well in future life and support success. 

‘Religious education is primarily about enabling pupils to become free thinking, critical participants of public discourse, who can make academically informed judgements about important matters of religion and belief which shape the global landscape’ (Norfolk Agreed Syllabus 2019). 

RE aims to broaden children’s awareness, understanding and tolerance of different belief systems, cultures, and lifestyles worldwide, and to encourage and develop in pupils the skills required to interact peacefully with others they will meet in this changing world, who believe, think, and live differently.  

Our intent is to provide pupils with the opportunities to explore some of the key ideas and concepts of major religions and worldviews in a safe environment. Investigating and reflecting upon religious values and questions within the three disciplines of RE – theology (believing), philosophy (thinking) and human and social sciences (living) – within which are housed ten Age Related Expectations in each year group (see below).  

Age Related Expectations – https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/schools/siams-re-collective-worship/religious-education/age-related-expectations/  

At St Michael’s, we develop pupils’ knowledge of Christianity, its values and its impact on citizens around the world while also investigating key concepts in other major religions and worldviews. We address fundamental questions concerning, for example, life as a journey, the existence of a creator deity and life after death.  

As a Church of England School, we believe that all children, whether they have a faith or not, and whatever their background or culture, deserve a rich, broad, and balanced RE curriculum with engaging opportunities to develop all pupils’ becoming moral, social, spiritual, confident, and aware individuals.  

We base our curriculum design on the research of four diocesan RE advisers — Jane Chipperton (Diocese of St Albans), Gillian Georgiou (Diocese of Lincoln), Olivia Seymour (Diocese of York) and Kathryn Wright (Formally of the Diocese of Norwich) – who developed the set of Age-Related Expectations that ‘enable pupils to hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religion and belief. Implicit within this is the study of a range of religions, belief systems and worldviews.’ 

The Aims of the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus 2019 

Is for children to: 

· To know about and understand a range of religious and non-religious worldviews by learning to see these through theological, philosophical, and human/social science lenses.  

· To express ideas and insights about the nature, significance, and impact of religious and non-religious worldviews through a multi-disciplinary approach.  

· To gain and deploy skills rooted in theology, philosophy and the human/social sciences engaging critically with religious and non-religious worldviews. 

Further objectives of teaching religious education in our school are to help children:  

· Develop an early understanding of self, God, and Christianity on the Foundation Stage. 

  • Develop curiosity and a deeper understanding of Christianity and other key religions such as Judaism, Hinduism & Sikhism. 

· Develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues arising in their lives. 

· Develop knowledge and understanding of major world religions and value systems found in Britain (and across the world across KS2 (Key Stage 2)).  

· Develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition.  

· Be able to reflect on their own experiences and to develop a personal response to the fundamental questions of life set out in our curriculum. 

· Develop an understanding of religious traditions and appreciate the cultural differences in Britain (and across the world) today.  

· Develop investigative and research skills, and make reasoned judgements about religious issues.  

· Have respect for other people’s views, and celebrate the diversity in society. 

· Embed our Vision as a school. 

At St Michael’s school, we planned the RE curriculum in accordance with Norfolk Agreed Syllabus for RE 2019, in alliance with the Diocese of Norwich and SACRE.  

Click here for our long term overview. 

(Our curriculum was designed by John Neenan in collaboration with Dr Kathryn Wright) 

RE will follow an enquiry-based process of learning based around a Big Question to enable children to engage with and explore a key concept. To broaden their understanding we use resources such as artefacts, analyse holy texts and explore the impact of an idea on people’s lifestyles worldwide as well as making connections between the texts and real life and considering different interpretations, developing critical thinking while questioning whether a belief or idea is rational or reasonable.  

We enable children to develop a sound knowledge of Christianity as well as other world religions, and through this, we intend to develop within pupils, respect, and tolerance for other people worldwide.  

Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help pupils learn from religions as well as about religions.  

Children will have the equivalent of one hour a week of RE and some form of Collective Worship daily. Either as a school, in person or via Zoom, as a key Stage or Class.  

The impact of our RE is assessed using new assessment materials, which have been developed in line with the Age-Related Expectations. The Diocese of Norwich has developed these to work alongside the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus.  

Teachers will use these at the three assessment points during the year and award each child a ‘Point in Time’ assessment level accordingly. These will be recorded on Pupil Asset (our school management information system) along with the other Core Curriculum Subjects from September 2021. The impact of our RE curriculum and Collective Worship can also be measured through soft data. This might be in several different forms such as engagement with the church and wider community, pupil, and parental voice as well as children’s/adults’ general behaviours.  

Progression table for Religious Education skills

Physical Education is concerned with the promotion of positive attitudes towards physical activity and well-being. At St Michael’s children are helped to acquire the skills needed to participate with confidence and enjoyment in a range of individual team activities at school and in the wider community, and to appreciate the place of regular exercise as a way of keeping fit.

All children take part in a minimum of two hours of high quality PE and sporting activities each week.

A well-balanced programme of activities is provided for the children that includes opportunities for expressive and creative movement through dance, as well as gymnastics and games.

Learning through co-operative and competitive activities helps to promote an understanding of inter-personal relationships.

Physical Education is enriched through clubs which help children to develop personal and social skills as well as preparing them for leisure activities in adult life.

If your child wears earrings (small studs) we are happy for them to be taped up for PE lessons. If you could please ensure you do this before your child comes to school in the morning this would be appreciated.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, PSHE is about making connections and is strongly linked to play. PSHE is taught through activities that are part of topics, as well as on an individual basis to develop personal skills such as dressing, feeding and toileting. Positive experiences are built through daily opportunities to share and enjoy a range of different activities. The children are given the opportunity to engage in social activities, as members of a small group or occasionally during whole school activities.

In KS1 children continue to engage in activities that promote an understanding of themselves as growing and changing individuals, and as members of a wider community, based on their own first hand experiences. They learn to understand how their choices and behaviours can affect others and are encouraged to play and learn alongside, and then collaboratively with, their peers. Children are also given the opportunity to make choices about their health and environment and are encouraged to develop a caring attitude to others. SEAL materials and themes may be incorporated into the curriculum.

RSHE is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, human sexuality and sexual health in an age and stage appropriate manner. 

It is our intent that It will equip children and young people with accurate information, positive values and the skills to enjoy healthy, safe and positive relationships, within which they value their sexuality and take responsibility for their health and wellbeing both now and in the future. We recognise the importance of RSHE in preparing children and young people to live safe, fulfilled and healthy lives. The objective of RSHE is to support children and young people through a journey of physical, emotional and moral development, through the teaching of essential knowledge, skills and values within the framework of the law, relevant provisions of the Equality Act, 2010 and through the teaching of the Christian perspectives on relationships and sex.  

Effective RSHE can make a significant contribution to the development of personal skills needed by pupils to establish and maintain relationships. RSHE will ensure children and young people are encouraged to understand the importance of stable, loving relationships, respect, love, and care in line with our Christian values. It also enables young people to make responsible and informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. 

RSHE will be approached through evidence-based, best practice principles to ensure the highest impact on improving pupil health, wellbeing, safeguarding and lifelong outcomes.  

The following principles are based on research evidence, supported by a wide range of leading organisations including NSPCC, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society and education unions.  

As the Diocese of Norwich, we are committed to the RSHE which:  

▪ Is taught by staff regularly trained in RSHE (with expert visitors invited in to enhance and supplement the programme where appropriate)  

▪ Works in partnership with parents and carers, informing them about what their children will be learning and about how they can contribute at home  

▪ Delivers lessons where pupils feel safe and encourages participation by using a variety of teaching approaches with opportunities to develop critical thinking and relationship skills  

▪ Is based on reliable sources of information, including about the law and legal rights, and distinguishes between fact and opinion  

▪ Promotes safe, equal, caring and enjoyable relationships and discusses real-life issues appropriate to the age and stage of pupils, including friendships, families, consent, relationship abuse, sexual exploitation and safe relationships online  

▪ Gives a positive view of human sexuality, with honest and medically accurate information, so that pupils can learn about their bodies and sexual and reproductive health in ways that are appropriate to their age and maturity  

▪ Gives pupils opportunities to reflect on values and influences (such as from peers, media, faith and culture) that may shape their attitudes to relationships and sex, and nurtures respect for different views  

▪ Includes learning about how to get help and treatment from sources such as the school nurse and other health and advice services, including reliable information online  

▪ Respects gender equality and LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans) equality and challenges all forms of discrimination in RSHE lessons and in every-day school life  

▪ Meets the needs of all pupils with their diverse experiences – including those with special educational needs and disabilities  

  • Seeks pupils’ views about RSHE so that teaching can be made relevant to their real lives and assessed and adapted as their needs change  

.

To see our RSHE policy please click here. The lesson plans are below:

Year R Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

Year 1 Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

Year 2 Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

Year 3 Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

Year 4 Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

Year 5 Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

Year 6 Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6

The majority of elements of the RSHE curriculum are a statutory requirement to teach to meet the June 2019 Government RSHE guidance and The Equalities Act, 2010.  

RSHE will be taught through a ‘spiral curriculum’. This approach means that pupils will gain knowledge, develop values and acquire skills gradually during their school years by re-visiting core themes to build on prior learning. RSHE will support the school’s commitment to safeguard pupils through an age-appropriate curriculum that prepares them to live safely in the modern world.  

Our intended RSHE curriculum is detailed below, but may vary in response to emerging issues and to reflect the rapidly changing world in which our pupils are living and learning. If this is the case parent/carers will be provided with appropriate notice before the amended programme is delivered. Where possible the curriculum will be complemented by themed assemblies, topic days and cross curricular links.  

We will be following ‘The Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Solution’ Curriculum which has been developed by Educator Solutions. The children will have at least 6 lessons spread out over the course of the school year. Lessons will be taught in Year Groups and not classes so the material is age appropriate.   

Pupils’ learning will be assessed at the end of every topic to ensure that pupils are making sufficient progress to build on prior teaching and learning and that teaching strategies and resources remain relevant and effective. Assessment activities will be implicit, forming part of a normal teaching activity to ensure that pupils do not feel under pressure. There will be self-assessment tasks throughout the programme that will confirm pupils understanding of the topics. The evaluation of teaching and learning assessments will be shared with pupils and parents as appropriate.  

The quality of RSHE teaching and learning will be monitored through RSHE learning walks, team teaching and informal drop-ins conducted by subject leads and/or members of the senior leadership team. Governors will monitor the quality of provision, pupil progress and accessibility of the RSHE provision. Specific governor responsibilities are in section 38 and 39 of the RSHE Guidance. The observations and findings of which will be used to identify and inform future staff training and resource needs.